Midlife Working; the COVID impact
What will midlife working look like after COVID?
In this article our Member Nicolette Wykeman, Founder of Silverforce Coaching, asks What will midlife working look like after Covid?
Since lock down started in the UK in Mid-March, many people have experienced a profound change to the way they work, and how businesses operate. Midlifers are suddenly facing several new challenges including the need to adjust to working remotely, while juggling childcare and / or home schooling for an undefined period of time.
After almost three months people are asking what will the long term impact of Covid-19 be?
There are still many unknowns.
With an increasing number of people claiming unemployment benefits since the pandemic arrived, the government will need to come up with a structural plan on how to get all these people back into work. Apart from providing financial support for furloughed staff to existing businesses and offering some grants for small businesses, there is currently no strategy on how to tackle the massive unemployment (estimated to reach around 7 million).
What will the government’s investment strategy be? Will they use this pandemic to invest in green energy, create sustainable businesses and restructure unprofitable industries? Which new and existing industries will the government invest in? What type of jobs will be created and what skills will be in demand?
As businesses start to re-open, many will need to restructure to recover loss of earnings. The pandemic may have shown them new ways of streamlining their businesses that will change the way we work forever. Will we ever go back to big office buildings 9-5?
Whilst some people have enjoyed the experience of working more flexibly, without a commute, there are others who miss the office; the social aspect of work is important and difficult to recreate virtually. Is there a risk that mid-lifers will not be able to adapt as easily to the ‘new norma’l? Will they be overlooked as new or different expertise is required?
How do you adapt and seize potential opportunities?
The problem right now is that no one knows what will happen. HR’s policies and strategies have not changed much in recent years, but in the last two months the potential for a significant change has opened up.
As a midlife career coach, I see the importance of people evolving their skills and career over time. Not only for progression and pay increases but for mental health. Whether you are engaged through paid or unpaid work, it gives purpose and a sense of value. However, with so many people available on the job market, governments, educational institutions and organisations need to rethink how all generations could equally benefit from getting back to work and how they can support each other.
So I would ask.. why wait for someone else to make the decision? Right now may be the best time to take a step back and decide what you want the next phase of your career to look like.
Should I re-think my career?
Age is just a number right? The old view of 1 job / career for life is rapidly changing. Re-inventing yourself and enjoying multiple careers may become the new standard. So we need to be resilient and keep on top of our careers regardless of age and we have to allow ourselves to see the opportunities in front of us.
Sadly there are no crystal balls available but often the best place to start is by knowing yourself and what you want. To get you started there a some simple things you can do:
Review your current skills and experience. (When was the last time you dusted off your C.V.?)
Think about what you like / dislike about your current job
Ask yourself what interests you and if you could what would you like to do?
What are your strengths?
Identify what skills you would need to either have the career you want or adapt your current role to the new environment
Find training resources to evolve your skills
Follow business news in the area you are interested in – look at what vacancies are available now.
Can co-workers and networks support each other?
Well, how about reverse mentoring? – this is one solution to provide something for everyone with learnings for both parties. We all have different strengths. Mentoring is usually seen as an older or more experienced worker passing on wisdom and perspective to a junior colleague. But this binary approach is limited and short sighted.
Collaboration across generations and between co-workers is a fabulous way for people to learn valuable skills such as project management and research from the older workers and older workers could learn digital skills and embracing new technologies from the younger generation. It can feel daunting to ask for help sometimes but the idea of mutual knowledge sharing is catching on and there are a growing number of ways to connect with people willing to get involved.
How a career coach can help you?
One of the reasons to focus on career coaching for people approaching or in midlife is to help them make the right choices to be able to continue working but also to encourage them to take opportunities to change careers and fulfil their dreams and potential during their midlife working years.
We can all have trouble focusing on ourselves and thinking about what we want and need can feel complicated and too much. A career coach is a qualified professional who will help you to create midlife working goals, an action plan and support you in achieving it.
More About Silverforce Coaching
Silverforce Coaching specialise in Midlife Career Coaching. Nicolette Wykeman, Founder of Silverforce Coaching, believes “Every professional should be challenged, whatever their age”
Nicolette has over 25 years International business experience including more than 15 years as a Career Coach, helping professionals reach their career goals.
She has a Masters in Career Management in the UK (focusing on the ageing workforce) and works as an Associate Careers Consultant for different Business Schools, such as Imperial College, in London and outplacement organisations. This blend of different clients gives her valuable insights in the (future) world of work and its challenges.
Silverforce Coaching clients benefit from a solution-based approach through which motivates and inspires them towards their desired result.